Red Kayak

In YA Book Reviews on August 20, 2013 at 3:10 am


 by Priscilla Cummings

(Realistic Fiction, @ 2004, 208 pages, Stand-alone book)

Publisher’s Blurb:

First hailed as a hero for his dramatic water rescue, thirteen-year-old Brady Parks, son of a Chesapeake Bay waterman, soon makes a startling discovery that puts him at the heart of an enormous tragedy. Alone with his dark secret, Brady is ultimately forced to choose between loyalty to his lifelong friends and doing what he knows in his heart is right. Priscilla Cummings weaves a suspenseful, multi-layered tale of three teenage boys caught in a wicked web of their own making.

My Thoughts:

This is a compelling first person narrative about a teenage boy learning to make serious decisions about right and wrong. The background of the Eastern Shore and its ecology plays a large part in this story of honesty and betrayal, and of the changing way of life for Maryland’s watermen. It is a quick read, but by no means is it a light read. At the very heart, it is about grief, guilt, and, more subtly, forgiveness and acceptance, but it also touches on friendship, environment, family dynamics, death, child abuse, morality, and integrity, all artfully woven seamlessly into the story. It is well written and engaging with a host of significant life lessons. It brings home in a meaningful way that it is important to take responsibility for your actions.

My Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

In My Opinion: This book is appropriate for and of interest to mature, middle school readers.

Favorite Quote: “Doin’ what’s right is not always the easiest thing…it’s just that sometimes, even when the right answer is smack in front of you, you got to reach deep inside yourself to act on it.”

Additional Detail: There is a companion book, The Journey Back, written by the same author. It tells the story of what happened to Digger, one of the characters from Red Kayak. It is an equally engaging book.

Other Thoughts:

Similar Books That You Might Also Like:

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

The Cay by Theodore Taylor

Where the Red Fern Growns by Wilson Rawls


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